Monday, December 01, 2008

Twenty Questions with Ana of Fric de Mentol

Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Ana of Fric de Mentol. This talented lady hails from Portugal and makes beautiful prints, bags, sachets, and pins that I know you will love. (See even more of her work on her flickr page and blog.)I asked her about what inspires her and what life is like in sunny Portugal!

Miss B: First off, tell us a little about you.

Ana: I think that as a person I'm not eccentric and I like simple things.

I´m married and over 30 but generally my look leads people to think that I'm an adolescent.

I like to cook, I compare it to painting, a little bit of garlic, onions, pepper as a little bit of yellow, red and white. I have to be creative in both so there can be some variety.

Miss B:I've never been to Portugal, so I want to know everything! How is the weather, food, culture? What is the best thing about life in your city?

Ana:Portugal is known to have a word without translation to English, and I think that word – saudade – says much about my country. Our culture reflects the mixture of many ancestral cultures, the Iberian peninsula has Celtic, Lusitanian, Iberian and Arabic influences, among others and we, Portuguese, are a product of that. It's a small country full of contrasts, in the weather, food and culture. I like the Portuguese sunlight, we have plenty of that and it's a shame not to take advantage of it, for example, with solar panels. I hope things get better in the future. In relation to food, I love fish, vegetables and olive oil, I'm sure you have already heard about our grilled sardines.

I lived in three cities before, my actual one – Benavente – is in the south, near Lisbon and its cultural shows which is one of the best things about Benavente, along with the proximity of beautiful green spots.

Miss B: Have you always been an artist, or was making art something you learned how to do?

Ana:When I was a little girl I loved to draw in the walls, but in those days my parents didn't thought that way, eheheh

I started very young as you can see, I like drawing very much. In my childhood people used to tell me that I was going to be an art fashion designer because I liked to draw girls' clothes and make dresses for my dolls.

I may have born with a special skill, but I'm always learning, more and more. My painting degree included contemporaneous tapestry, ceramic painting, glass art and the classic painting, among others. So I've worked with many materials and I try to use that experience in my creations.

Miss B: In your profile you say "I use all my senses to live." I think that is such a beautiful thought- sometimes people get so busy that they don't enjoy the pleasures the senses offer. What are your favorite simple pleasures?

Ana:I like dark chocolate, being walked by my dog, drawing for hours in a coffee shop, a glass of wine at the sunset on the beach, going to a concert, which I cannot do as often as I would like, and being with family and friend , since I move home each year, because of my husband's job, and they are settled on various parts of Portugal. The fact of being asked to talk about me is another simple pleasure for me.

Miss B: You also mention that you love music and movies. What are your current favorites?

Ana:Music: Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Ratatat, Tuatara, Red Snapper, Soil and Pimp, The Go! Team, Tinariwen and the Portuguese MU.
I rarely see current released films, I have a big list to watch and my movies update is very slow. Some of my current favorites are Tideland, Half Nelson, Head-on, Nicotina, Match Point, The Edukators, for example. I also like Animation films (like Chihiro's trip), Brazilian, European and Short Films. I worship Tim Burton, Quentin Tarantino, The Coen Brothers and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, among others.

Miss B: One of the things I'm drawn to in your work is your sense of color and the wonderful patterns you use. Are those all from your imagination, or do you use other references too?

Ana:It's from my imagination, when I cross it with patterns or elements I see every day, for instance the architectonic lines of a building, the words written on a paper or the traditional Portuguese patterns and clothes, tiles, landscapes, everything. As an artist, I try to represent Portuguese culture.

Miss B: You have lots of beautiful Moleskine journals in your shop. Do you use Moleskines to jot down your own ideas?

Ana:Yes, every time, everywhere! They're user friendly and fit in every pocket.

Miss B: What is your creative process like? How long does it take you to complete a new idea for a print?

Ana:My sketches are the main input. Other times it starts with a selected theme. My work can take many hours or days until it's done, it's a hard process since the first sketch till the package is ready to send (everytime I have a final result I say hurray).

Miss B: Where do you find inspiration?

Ana:I find inspiration in everything, using all my senses to capture the essence of things.

Miss B: Which Etsy artists do you admire? I'll interview them next!

Ana:They are so many, this is the creepy question, eheheh, but I can name some:

* Cathy Cullis , I'm in love with her wearable textile fine art.

* Chakra Pennywhistle, makes the most wonderful pillows and recycled wallets with old Money bags.

* Miriam, is a Portuguese designer, she conceived a series of wallets and pins with tape measure, she is "the tape measuring girl".

* Xenotees, I can detect scientific patterns on her tees, it was love at first sight!

Miss B:Thank you so much Ana for giving us a behind the scenes look at the inspiration behind your beautiful art work. I always enjoy seeing what's new in your shop! Here's to living with all our senses!


fric_de_mentol said...

Thank you! It's a pleasure :)

The Fab Miss B said...

Thank you Ana! This has been such a treat!


Miss B

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